(NaturalNews) Considered by many to be one of the healthiest plant-based fats, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has gained considerable notoriety in recent years for its ability to lower heart disease risk and cholesterol levels, among other benefits. Unfortunately, much of the so-called olive oil sold in stores today is not actually olive oil, but rather a deceptive blend of inferior oils that may or may not include traces of actual olive oil.
As surprising as it might seem, as much as 50 percent or more of all the olive oil sold commercially in the United States does not pass the stringent testing standards used to qualify the authenticity of real olive oil. As it turns out, many high-volume, non-certified olive oils may contain various blends of rapeseed (canola) oil, soybean oil, flavoring chemicals, and colors that give the illusion of real olive oil -- but in reality, these oils are nothing but frauds.
"As crazy as it sounds, olive oil piracy is one of the Italian Mafia's most lucrative enterprises, to the extent that it appears that most olive oil on the market is either greatly diluted or completely forged by a massive shadow industry that involves major names such as Bertolli," wrote Pauli Poisuo about the olive oil conspiracy in a piece for Cracked.com. (http://www.cracked.com)
Earlier in the year, NaturalNews also reported on the new book Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, in which olive oil expert Tom Mueller takes his readers down the rabbit hole of olive oil fraud. Authentic olive oil typically has a vibrant green color (though not always), is often stored in amber, glass bottles to protect its flavor and quality, and often has a vibrant, peppery taste. Most olive oils, it turns out, do not pass these basic authenticity criteria, and are often diluted olive oils at best. (http://www.naturalnews.com/035124_olive_oil_adulterated_canola.html)
Tests conducted by researchers from both the University of California, Davis (UCD) and the Australian Oils Research Laboratory (AORL) back in 2010 also found that many major olive oil brands do not pass International Olive Council (IOC) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) authenticity tests for olive oil. The failing brands in this particular study included Bertolli, Mazzola, Pompeian, Carapelli, and Filippo Berio, among others.
How can you know if your olive oil is real?
There are a number of ways; however, by which you can test olive oil yourself to better determine whether or not it is authentic. Here are a few simple ways to decrease your risk of buying phony olive oil:
Look for the IOC label of authenticity on imported olive oils. Even though the IOC did not expressly agree with every tenet of the UCD study, the group has its own strict set of criteria by which it tests the authenticity of olive oils. Olive oils that bear official IOC labels of authenticity are very likely to actually be authentic.
Observe the texture, appearance of your olive oil when refrigerated. Authentic olive oil will typically become slightly cloudy and a bit thicker than normal when refrigerated. If your olive oil remains mostly the same consistency when refrigerated, it more than likely contains additive oils or is in some other way adulterated.
Check to see if your olive oil is flammable. Real olive oil is flammable, which means that it can essentially be used as a fuel source for an oil lamp. If your olive oil does not burn when lit with a match, it more than likely is an imposter.
To learn more about food secrets, be sure to check out the FREE NaturalNews report, 25 Amazing (and Weird) Facts About Food: http://www.naturalnews.com